Ah….summer time! The endless BBQ’s, days spent at the beach and road trips. It’s a time of year that we all wait for, especially here in Ontario where we only have a few months to enjoy the weather and forget about the harsh winters that we have to deal with 😐 . Since this time is precious, we would rather spend it having fun as opposed to being in the kitchen slaving away…right? So here is a super fast and simple ‘Sundried Tomato Pasta’ that is my go-to for entertaining this time of the year!
It’s perfect for the summer time because you can enjoy it hot, room temperature or even cold, so it’s ideal no matter what! I’ve been making this pasta for years and have become somewhat famous for it 😀 . So, for those of you who have been asking for this recipe, wait no longer because here it is!
I first begin by preparing my pasta water by filling a large pot and letting it come to a rolling boil. I then add herbs and spices to it before throwing in my pasta (to read my post on flavouring your pasta water, click here to check it out).
As the water is boiling, I take half a head of fresh garlic (around 5-6 whole cloves), peel and chop it up nice and small. You could use the ready made chopped garlic that you can find at your local grocery store, but I like peeling and chopping my own (if you haven’t read my post on peeling garlic yet, click here to check it out).
At this point the pasta should be cooked just under al dente. Before I strain the pasta, I take a mug and reserve some of the cooking liquid which I will later use to bind the sauce to the pasta. This is a quick trick that I learned back in the day when I used to watch Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals.
Once I drain the pasta, I let it sit in the strainer for a minute and using the same pot that I cooked the pasta in, I coat the bottom with extra virgin olive oil and over medium-high heat drop in the freshly chopped garlic. You want to cook the garlic just until it becomes tender but doesn’t get any colour on it, so the key is to keep stirring it.
Next, I add a palm full (aprox. 1 tbsp.) of dried oregano and parsley, along with 1/2 a palm (aprox. 1/2 tbsp.) of chipotle powder and stir everything for a few minutes until it become fragrant. Now, if you’ve never used chipotle powder before you’ve got to try it! It adds subtle spice to your food but also gives it a smoky taste to it.
Now…for the secret ingredient…… Classico’s Sun Dried Tomato Pesto. I rarely use anything that is pre-made but this stuff is amazing! It’s so flavourful that a little bit goes a long way – and the best part is that 1/4 cup is only 90 calories 😀 ! I add anywhere from 3-4 tbsp. and adjust my measurement to get the desired taste. Since it is strong, add a little bit at a time until you get the flavour that you are looking for.
Once you’ve added the pesto, stir it for a few minutes to cook it through and add a little bit of the starchy cooking water (2-3 tbsp.) from before to create a sauce.
I then toss the pasta back in, drop the heat to low, and coat the pasta in the sauce by mixing it for a few minutes. I also taste the pasta and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Once it’s done, I put the pasta in my serving dish and top it off with thinly sliced red onions and crumble a little feta to give it a Mediterranean twist.
The one thing that I love about this pasta is that not only is it quick, but it’s also versatile. Every time I make it, it turns out a little different depending on what ingredients I have in my fridge that day. In the past, I’ve added some cherry tomatoes cut in half along with some black olives. You could even lightly sauté some mushrooms and bell peppers when you add in your spices along with some chicken and this simple side dish can now be served as a main. The key to this recipe is the base – once you’ve nailed that, you have endless possibilities.
Well I hope that you enjoyed this recipe, it’s super easy and only takes 15 minutes to make. So the next time you decide to have an impromptu get together, whip this baby up and I promise you that it will be a crowd pleaser!
If you do try this out, be sure to let me know how it turned out in the comments section below.
Until next time!